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LPGA to mandate English proficiency

PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The LPGA is mandating that its members pass an English speaking test by next year or face suspension, Golfweek magazine reported.

The LPGA has long stressed being able to be able to speak English but as South Korean players increasingly have success on the tour, LPGA officials recently introduced the tougher policy.

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A total of 45 South Koreans are touring members of the LPGA. There are another 76 players from other foreign countries.

Golfweek said that last Wednesday the LPGA gathered its South Korean players and informed them they must pass an "oral evaluation" of English or the player could be suspended.

"Hopefully what we're talking about is something that will not happen," LPGA Deputy Commissioner Libba Galloway told Golfweek. "If it does, we wouldn't just say, 'Come back next year.' What we would do is work with them on where they fell short, provide them the resources they need, the tutoring ... and when we feel like they need to be evaluated again, we would evaluate."

The LPGA policy takes effect immediately with the first tests given at the end of the 2009 season.

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